Within the Steam Events & Announcements tools, there are three levels of category for game updates, which each work a little differently: Patch Notes, Regular Updates, and Major Updates. For details on Major Updates, please see Event Type: Major Update
What Are Patch Notes?
Patch Notes are important for letting your most engaged players know what has changed in your game, even if those changes are not something most players would care about. Every time you push out a new build to Steam, your players will see their game update in Steam. Many of those players want to see what has changed in the game, so posting something about your update will at least tell players something about the magnitude of the update.
Patch Notes Visibility
Patch Notes are specifically designed to show up just in the appropriate locations so they don't bump your bigger important news. For example, Patch Notes won't appear at the top of the Library homepage in the "What's New" section, reserving that space for your bigger announcements and updates.
Here is a breakdown of where Patch Notes do appear:
- When a player clicks to view updates from the Steam client's download window.
- In a compact format on your game's News Hub
- In a compact format within your game's library detail window.
- The most recent patch notes will also be linked from your store page.
Posting Patch Notes
To post your patch notes, visit your app's landing page in Steamworks and scroll down to "Post/Manage Events & Announcements". Clicking that option will take you to a screen to select the type of event you wish to post. Click "Create new Event or Announcement" and then you can select "A Game Update" to expand the options and then select "Small Update / Patch Notes".
Associating Patch Notes with your Build
Associate any Update News event with a specific build, which is required to make that event accessible to players from the Downloads view via a PATCH NOTES
link. To do so, click the Link to Build
button on the Description
tab of your event's edit view, then select the branch you'd like to associate with the event.
Please note this only works with current and future builds; there is no way to link an old post to a previous build.
Patch notes are designed to be lightweight and easy to post. Therefore, you really only need to fill out two fields: title and description.
You can easily paste in your bullet list of notes, switch to the 'publish' tab and hit publish.
On top of that, there are various optional settings if you want to provide more information or include images of things that have changed, but are not needed in order to post your patch notes.
SteamPipe Builds and Patch Notes
When submitting a new build for your game via SteamPipe, a small prompt will automatically appear to encourage you to also post a patch note for your customers. This prompt lets you easily submit your patch notes inlines at the point after submitting the build. Often developers will use this to write a bullet point list of the changes made. Patch notes following your build updates is helpful for your customers to realize you are continuing work on and improve your game.
You can always use the regular event editor to post the patch notes at a later time. Learn more about this prompting feature here